You don’t have to venture out into the wild to find decent opportunities to photograph birds and wildlife. Pay a visit to a wildfowl trust or somewhere like Pensthorpe in Norfolk and you will have no end of photographic subjects to capture on camera.
Over the Easter break this year I did just that. This was my third visit to Pensthorpe Nature Reserve and Conservation Centre and it seems to become more enjoyable on each visit. With captive birds, wild birds and Pensthorpes involvement in the Great Crane Project there was plenty to see and do.
The first point of interest for me was the enclosure containing the White Storks which were nesting at the time of my visit:
Then it was on to the wader house where Black-winged Stilts mingled with Lapwings, Redshank and Curlew:
I waited for a while before getting this shot of a Black-winged Stilt in the wader house. There were several stilts there but I think this shot is the pick of the bunch. Even though the birds were close enough to get a number of photographs they were not always against a good background or in a suitable position. A little patience paid off and this photograph with a great reflection in the water is the result.
In the next section which housed the Egrets and Ibis, the Cattle Egrets were quite happy to pose for photographs as were the Little Egrets although they were a little 'flighty'.
Great colour on the Scarlet Ibis made them an obvious photographic target. Again patience was key here as they were moving around the enclosure quite a lot and so it was necessary to wait quite a while for the position to be right in order to get this shot.
Then a stroll passed the lagoons before entering the park:
The male Mandarin Duck is a stunning bird and is always a great subject for a photograph. Placing him just off centre in this photograph works well I think as it gives him more of the photograph to look into whereas centralising him wouldn't add that interest and would make for a far more ordinary shot.
The male Goldeneye were moving around quite a lot but were swimming in quite close when anyone passed by, hoping that someone had remembered to bring along some duck food!
Striking birds. I did take perhaps a few too many shots of the Goldeneye but they were such an interesting subject.........
.......particularly when the males started displaying to attract the females.
Again, a little patience was required in order to get this shot but it was worth it.
This shot of a male Pochard was constructed so that it is swimming into and accross the photograph.
The colour of the Pochard's head contrasts beautifully with the pale grey back against the somewhat murkey water.
Apart from the birds at Pensthorpe there is other wildlife to see.
There are Muntjack in the wooded areas and there are Otters on the reserve.
Whilst in one of the hides this Grey Squirrel dropped in for a snack.
It took several attempts before I got the shot I wanted.
I could not resist this view as I looked accross the wader scrape:
It rounded off a fantastic day at one of my favourite venues which has plenty to offer the photographer and wildlife enthusiast.
I hope that you will consider visiting a wildfowl reserve or nature centre to explore the possibilities there and of course your entry fees will ensure that you are doing your bit for conservation by helping to support the valuable work that centres like Pensthorpe do.